The Ford Bronco, a nameplate that hasn't been made new since 1996, will soon make its long-awaited return for the 2021 model year as a truck-based SUV. Its chief rival will be the popular Jeep Wrangler, but it will compete with just about every other rugged sport-utility vehicle offered with four-wheel drive. Now that illustrations, parts guides, and numerous credible reports have been released into the existing flood of rumors, we have a solid base of information on this highly anticipated utility vehicle, as we'll get into below.


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Powertrains and Platform


Plenty of solid details about the '21 Bronco have emerged to shed light on what we can expect to roll in to Ford dealerships at some point in 2020. First and foremost, we know that it's based on the recently resurrected Ranger pickup. This suggests that it'll share the same engine as that truck: a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder making 270 horsepower and 310 pounds-feet of torque. The transmission will probably be a ten-speed automatic, and some reports indicate that there will be an optional manual transmission.


Even more intriguing, Ford has stated it will offer a hybrid powertrain for most of the models in its lineup (which the Bronco will soon be part of), although it's uncertain whether this would be a conventional hybrid or a plug-in hybrid. Ford has also made comments about the possibility of an onboard generator system for the F-150 hybrid that may be shared with the upcoming Bronco. As for the platform, we know it will be a truck-based body-on-frame SUV, and with leaked images of the 2022 Ranger circulating we have a better idea of what the 2021 Bronco might look like. Based on a few teaser pics, it will have a boxy profile with a rear-mounted spare tire, as is customary for trail-ready SUVs.


Hot Competition for the Wrangler


If we know anything for certain, it's that the Bronco will give the Jeep Wrangler a run for its money. Both the two- and four-door versions of the Bronco will have removable doors and a removable hardtop roof that can be stowed away in the rear cargo area. Documents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show that these doors will be joined to a latch system rather than a bolts-and-screws system like the Wrangler uses. This is a serious improvement, as many a Jeep owner has complained that the Wrangler's doors are a pain to take off and that the parts can easily be lost.


A Bronco Sport and Pickup Truck?


The Bronco may also be incarnated into a smaller alternative called the Adventurer or Bronco Sport. It will probably look similar to the Ford Escape, meaning it would likely get the same turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost and 2.0-liter Twin Scroll EcoBoost engine options as that popular crossover. Several reports also suggest that the Bronco might eventually spawn a pickup truck variant to battle the new Jeep Gladiator (which is in turn based on the Wrangler, but don't expect anything like that until model year 2024.

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